For this episode I sat down with Sami Aljallad, an old friend and and fellow father of only boys. Among other topics, Sami discusses the joys and challenges of running a business with your spouse, how being the son of immigrants informs his parenting, and why free-range doesn’t work for him. Sami’s life moves as quickly as his brain, but he’s a true family man with a relentless focus on making a better future for his kids. Enjoy this meandering chat with the one and only Sami the Bull.
For this episode I sat down with Quentin Barrett, a fellow thespian and father of two teenage girls. Among other topics, Quentin discusses raising girls in the age of social media, the importance of identity, and why making education a priority takes care of most problems. Quentin holds a rare combination of conviction and humility; listen to him talk and you wonder why he’s not a teacher or a preacher. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
For Episode 9, I sat down with the rambling Jeff Beeler, a guy who defies all convention. He’s an East Tennessee boy who would feel equally comfortable freestyle rapping with Lil’ Wayne as singing a duet with Dierks Bentley. In fact there’s a good chance he’s done both. Jeff embodies one of my favorite Emerson quotes: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” He’s an adventurer, an explorer, a guy who “sucks the marrow out of life,” and for this conversation we zero in on the struggles and joys of being a father to his 18-month old daughter.
For Episode 8, I sat down with my oldest brother, Peter Hughes, someone I've looked up to (literally and figuratively) for over four decades. Among topics covered: The real story on Disney, why moving weight at 4:45 am is the best way to start your day; parenting as a left-brainer, and why kids are more like sharks than monkeys. I've always admired Peter's analytical nature, his broad knowledge on a ridiculous number of subjects --we used to call him "The Peternet"-- and his unwavering love for and commitment to his family. It's been one of my greatest pleasures in life to see our relationship grow from physical and verbal abuse (he used to punch me, I used to call him "pizza face"), to watching our kids grow up together.
For Episode 7, I sat down with close friend, accomplished athlete, and equally accomplished attorney, Paul Vance. Among the topics he covers: the challenges of balancing family, work, and physical fitness; the evils of the iPad; the insanity of youth sports; why it's okay to just sit silently in the same room and not talk to your wife. As always, Paul is honest, insightful, and succinct. He also happens to be one of the most loyal, stand-up guys I know. I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did.
For Episode 6 I sat down with my brother, David, who I’ve known since I could breathe. He’s been a mentor, a protector, a coach, a confidant, and a best friend for over 40 years. In this conversation David discusses how parenting affected his marriage, the importance of taking care of himself first, and his zero tolerance policy on social media. David also explores the limits of modern definitions of manhood and offers insight on how not to be a victim of said definitions. David is one of the most thoughtful people I know and someone who is always searching for meaning, so whether you agree with him or not, this conversation will stretch your thinking.
Deida, David. The Way of the Superior Man: a Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work and Sexual Desire. Sounds True, 2017.
For Episode 5, TR and I fight our juvenile instincts (we did write a book about bathroom graffiti) to have an honest conversation about parenting. TR reflects on what he's okay with his kids watching on TV, why hired help is worth every penny, and how having kids has made him become a child again, but in the best way possible.
For Episode 4, I interviewed high school principal and father of three boys, Matt Rudy, to discuss the ins and outs of co-running a household of three wild animals and a dog.
Matt offers practical tips on surviving the dreaded witching hour, shares the origin of his parenting mantra: "Tie a knot and hang on," and underscores the importance of routine in order to maintain some semblance of decorum in his house.
Even though he's a Georgia fan, I have a ton of respect for Matt as an educator, as a man, and as a dad. Listen to our conversation and you'll see why.
For Episode 3 I sat down with my dad/next door neighbor to deconstruct his approach to fatherhood. I like this man so much I named my second son after him. My essential question: What were you intentional about when raising kids? He tends to default to the "I don't know what I did; l it was all luck" response, but I was determined to press him. Specifically, my dad talks about some of the routines and rituals he and my mom employed as well as their core values. You'll notice that although in context these aren't earth-shattering, they're damned hard to put into practice in 2019.
As a good friend of mine once said, we are quick to blame our parents for the things we hate about ourselves, but we seldom credit them for the things we like. This conversation reintroduced me to the man I am proud to call my father, James Patrick Hughes.
In Episode 2 my most legitimately stoic friend Sean Galvin, who introduced me to my wife (and married us by the powers vested in him by the internet) shares his hopes and fears about becoming a dad in about 8 weeks. The one question that keeps him up at night: Should I raise my kid to be a Lions fan?
Sean also shares his meritocratic process for coming up with a name (Rory is a #6 seed in the girls bracket), and his appreciation for his own father, whom he insists is "in the conversation" for the greatest dad of all time.
In this episode, my son Samuel shares some of the keys to being a good dad, which include not doing dangerous things like stepping on dogs. He also delves into his ambitions to be a father himself and to become a bulldozer Rescue Bot.